ZAMBIA – The Zambia Consumers Association (ZACA) has questioned the Government’s move to import Genetically Modified mealie meal (GMO) on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This is after the government’s announcement that the Ministry of Defense has arranged with South African private milling companies to start importing Genetically Modified mealie meal (GMO) destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to ZACA, the situation has raised concerns as there are some allegations that the mealie meal may be destined for Zambia Consumers.

Zambians banned GMOs in 2002 under the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy -MMD, with late President Levy Mwanawasa describing them as “poison.”

Mwanawasa later rejected GMO maize donated by the U.S. government at the height of a food shortage caused by drought.

However, in the latest development, it was revealed that the government through the Ministry of Defense has entered into a special arrangement with South African private milling companies to import Genetically Modified mealie meal (GMO) destined to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) market.

According to the Zambian government, the decision was made to reduce the smuggling of Zambia’s non–GMO mealie meal to neighboring countries.

This has therefore raised eyebrows and caused panic among some concerned members of the general public who are wondering why the government has decided to import the GMO meal on behalf of Congo and if DRC cannot import for themselves.

GMOs or not?

According to Zambian Business Times -ZBT, some members of the public have also raised questions on whether the cheap Mealie Meal being offloaded on the locals by ZNS is GMO or not.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the ZBT, ZACA executive secretary Juba Sakala said that the fact that ZNS is involved in the importation of the GMO mealie meal when they are also supplying cheap Mealie Meal to the locals is suspicious and worrying to the consumers and the country at large.

Sakala noted that members of the public were not going to raise concerns if it was a private company contracted to do the importation but the fact that the government through ZNS is involved is worrying.

He noted that there is no guarantee that the GMO mealie meal the government Will be ordering for exports to Congo will be strictly for exports.

He therefore appealed to the government to provide answers to the general public on why they are importing GMO mealie meals on behalf of Congo and why their Congolese counterpart cannot do it for themselves.

“I’m appealing to the government to come out in the open and tell the nation why are they ordering GMO mealie meals on behalf of Congo?

According to him, the move brings a lot of suspicion because the same ZNS is making cheaper Mealie Meal for the locals.

You cannot tell ZNS to start ordering GMO mealie meals on behalf of Congo. that is why people are saying that this ZNS mealie meal being supplied to the locals is the same GMO mealie meal being imported from South Africa,” said Sakala.

Sakala charged that the possibility of the imported GMO mealie meal destined for Congo being mixed up with the Zambian Non-GMO mealie meal and supplying it to the locals is very much there.

He therefore reiterated the need for the government to come out clear on the questions and concerns being raised by the members of the public.

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